The City of San Antonio has more than a dozen vacant seats on its public boards and commissions, according to its online roster, and officials are inviting residents to apply.
“Diversity matters and as the City of San Antonio strives for more equal representation on Boards and Commissions, we encourage women and persons of color to apply,” City Clerk Tina Flores said in a recent press release highlighting some of the seats available.
Below are a few of the groups seeking new members. Some are at-large positions (approved by City Council vote) and some are appointed by Council members. Some of the boards have specific background requirements.
- Airport Advisory Commission
- Building-Related and Fire Codes Appeals and Advisory Board
- Citizen Advisory Action Board
- City Commission on Veterans Affairs
- Disability Access Advisory Committee
- Ethics Review Board
- Historic and Design Review Commission
- Parks and Recreation Board
- San Antonio Arts Commission
- San Antonio Public Library Board of Trustees
- Small Business Advocacy Committee
- Westside Development Corporation
- Zoning Board of Adjustment
- Zoning Commission
A full list of the more than 85 boards and commissions along with descriptions of their work is available online here.
Many current members are serving on boards beyond their terms as “holdovers,” said Lina Rodriguez, executive assistant to the city clerk. These holdovers can still go to meetings until they resign or are replaced. The online list includes term expiration dates that can be used to identify holdover seats.
Roughly 80 percent of board terms will be up in May 2021, when Council terms conclude.
Qualifications vary from group to group, Rodriguez said, but her advice is to “err on the side of ‘just apply.’ … It’s very rare that [something] will disqualify you from a board.”
The City Attorney’s Office reviews each application.
A vast majority of these positions are unpaid and some more prominent boards – such as the Historic and Design Review Commission – require long meetings and a lot of homework, Rodriguez said. “It’s a hard ask, but it’s for people who want to find their calling, serve their community, or want to get their foot in the door” at the City.
She encouraged applicants to reach out to the Council member who represents them and staff to familiarize their elected representative with their resume and application.
Last year, an analysis of board composition found a strong correlation between women and people of color who apply and those who are appointed to boards and commissions, but those populations don’t apply in proportion to their prominence in the community.
The time commitment for these boards, lack of pay, travel to and from meetings, and the potential need for child care are among obstacles that might stand in the way for residents who want to serve, Rodriguez said.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, however, efforts to increase accessibility to City government participation have been paused. Funding such initiatives was not mentioned during 2021 budget talks, which largely focused on the city’s economic recovery.